• Australian couple posts old photos of their vacation in a coastal town
  • The police came to their house four days later and slapped each of them with a $1,000 fine
  • The police later revoked fine after discovering the photos were from 2019 

People fond of posting on social media should take caution as they could get into trouble, even if what they posted was harmless enough. Reports say that Garry and Jaz Mott from Victoria, Australia, was slapped with a hefty fine from authorities for violating lockdown rules. According to the police, the South Australian couple went on a non-essential trip amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as proved by photos they posted on Facebook. It turned out that the snapshots posted were old vacation photos.

coronavirus lockdown violation of Australian couple turns out to be false
coronavirus lockdown violation of Australian couple turns out to be false Mahkeo - Unsplash

A Trip Down Memory Lane

The Motts told the Independent they were browsing through their old photos at their home on April 5 when the couple decided to share some photos from a 2019 vacation. The pictures showed the couple having a great time at a coastal town located in eastern Victoria. They said after posting, they went on their normal routine and forgot all about it.

Four days later, the police were knocking on their doors, according to the Independent. They were told by the state police that they are being fined the equivalent of $1,000 each for violating the strict lockdown policy imposed by the government. State police said that they took “a drive to Lakes Entrance,” which is deemed as a lockdown violation, as evidenced by photos they posted on Facebook. They were also warned of being arrested if they “posted any more photos,” said Jaz Mott in an interview with the Independent.

A Misunderstanding

Despite their explanation, the police still imposed the fine. Reports say the couple’s violation was “failure to comply with a direction given to a person in the exercise of a power under an authorization given under section 199.” After reviewing their case, the police later owned up to their mistake, calling it a misunderstanding, and then revoked the fine imposed.

In an interview with the Independent, a Victoria police spokesperson said, “This incident has been reviewed and the decision has been made to withdraw the infringement notice.” The police spokesperson also added, “On occasion, errors will be made however that is why a review process exists to ensure instances such as these are identified and rectified.”

No Stalking

The fine-happy state police denied they were stalking residents on Facebook to find out who are rule-breakers as regards the government’s lockdown rule. The police spokesperson said, “Police are not specifically monitoring social media accounts to identify breaches of the Chief Health Officer directives.” According to the spokesperson, police authorities only receive from the public reports of individual breaches then conduct a follow-up investigation on the circumstances surrounding such breach.